About the hotel
Gilsland Hall Hotel (formerly known as the Gilsland Spa Hotel) has a long and fascinating history. The original hotel was called The Shaw’s Hotel (a teutonic word Schawe meaning a small woodland) and was built in the 1740s. One early visitor was Rabbie Burns, the Scottish Bard who travelled to Gilsland during his Border tour of 1787. The hotel has been a popular resort since the eighteenth century. Walter Scott came here in 1797 looking for a wife (and found one). The opening of the railway station in 1836 galvanised the village.
The original Shaw’s Hotel burned down spectacularly in 1859 and was replaced on a grander scale soon afterwards by G. G. Mounsey. The new building was called The Shaw’s Hotel until it was leased to the Gilsland Spa Hotel and Hydro Company of South Shields in 1893. Expensive renovations, including an improved water supply, crippled this company financially, and it failed in 1900.
During the latter part of the 19th and early 20th centuries, Gilsland was a popular tourist destination. One of the main attractions has always been the Popping Stone, an enigmatic stone some half a mile from the hotel in a secluded glade. It is linked to various courtships, including that of Sir Walter Scott (although he was not ‘Sir’ at that time) and to fertility rituals. Next to the stone was the Kissing Bush, an ancient hawthorn that died in the 1940s. You can find these relics and the two mineral springs (sulphurous and chalybeate) as you search along the network of wide footpaths known as the Home Walks which provide access to the rugged scenery of the hotel grounds. Maps of the walks are available at the present Hotel reception.
The Co-operative Wholesale Society (as the major shareholder) and a number of retail Co-operatives took over in 1902 and ran it as a convalescent home. Members of the co-operatives used the hotel for convalescence but during the First World War the hotel was taken over by the Military Authorities as a provisional hospital. Many soldiers were sent to Gilsland Spa to recuperate before being sent back to the front line. During the Second World War it was used as maternity hospital and was known locally as "The Home".
In 1972, the property was established as the Gilsland Spa Hotel and has been progressively developed as a family holiday centre. The ongoing investment programme has made all the bedrooms en-suite, with central heating throughout the hotel. Galloways Bar provides the ideal ambience for that relaxing drink or bar meal and the latest addition, the Orangery, allows the hotel to offer superb wedding, conference and banqueting facilities. The name of the hotel was changed in 2016 to Gilsland Hall Hotel.